Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Shut down these shadowy groups?

“The president said he wanted to work together (with McCain) to pursue court action to shut down all the ads and activity by the shadowy … groups,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters
Shadowy? What’s shadowy about free speech? There’s a very bad law in place which restricts your ability to spend your money to communicate a political message. It’s called McCain-Feingold. If these Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (an Orwellian name if I’ve ever heard one) are lying, then Kerry should sue for libel and defamation. (I take no position on what they’re saying, I haven’t been paying attention to it.) What shouldn’t be happening is a debate on if these folks are “affiliated” with the Committee to Re-Elect the President, as if that matters. Of course they are. Who cares? We care only because their freedom of speech is somehow affected by their associations.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” (Emphasis added.)
In a free society, people are able to express their opinions about issues that matter to them without a license, without registering with the government, and without having to explain themselves beyond the content of their contributions to a vigorous debate. The campaigns for the most important elected offices in the world have spent less than GM is spending for Olympics advertising. Heck, political advertising by the two major party candidates in Q1 (a total of about $68 million) didn’t even think about breaking the top 10 with Pepsi bottoming the list at $267 million.
So lets hear it for the shadowy advertisers, working their free speech rights in the only opening that a bad law has left them.

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